First real hit-out for southern teams

Cheyenne Cunningham
Cheyenne Cunningham
Southern sides will get their first hit-out of the season when Oamaru plays host to the  Referees Sevens tournament today.

The tournament has attracted eight men’s teams and five women’s teams and will be played at Whitestone Contracting Stadium.

At home, North Otago has entered a team in the men’s section while there is a Hanan Shield team in the women’s section.

The Hanan Shield women’s team includes Spirit players Morgan Henderson and Cheyenne Cunningham while Liv Waldron has also been named.

The North Otago men’s side includes Inoke Naufahu, Sale Pi’i and Mathew Vocea, who will look to use his speed out wide.

Otago has one team in the women’s section and two teams in the men’s section.

The Otago women’s team will be coached again by David Latta and Mike Moeahu. It includes experienced players such as Sam Hollows, Mikayla Latta and Sheree Hume. Sisters Renaye and Zoey Flockton will also look to make an impact. Canterbury is fielding two teams in the women’s section with Southland the other team.

Otago has something of a fresh look to its two men’s sides in what coach Kane Jury says is something of a turning point in the sevens game.

The game is moving more towards power runners and with it Otago has looked to put in some hard running forwards.Otago has only been training for three weeks and Jury said it would be good for the side to have some games.

Forwards such as Harbour duo Ben Whale and Charles Elton have been included along with Southern No 8 Mika Mafi.Outside back Josh Gordon is back from Waikato while Josh Timu and Josh Buchan are also starters. Jury said the players were learning how to breathe properly when fatigued, which was harder than it sounded.

It would be a new look Otago side as most of the side from last year were unavailable All teams will get a minimum of four games.

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